Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Aieglos and Anwar had completed their training and were looking to occupy the time until the rest of the party returned from their trip upriver to destroy the last vestiges of the Hobgoblin armies. Having been gone just over a week, their absence was not yet cause for alarm. However, Templeton Naz, the proprietor of the Mad Manor was beginning to hint rather strongly that someone needed to take care of the putrefying corpse of Rondo Fleagle that remained in the boarding house’s cold storage space. As the party had sworn to return the dead dwarf to his former home of Dro-baan Khaz, Aieglos and Anwar arranged to join a caravan heading towards the heart of the dwarven kingdom. After three days of travel and a few minor encounters (boulder-hurling apes in the mountain passes and a giant gar that ate one of the caravan’s mounts as they crossed a river), the duo arrived in the subterranean mountain city of Dro-baan Khaz.
Upon their arrival, they sought assistance in what to do with Rondo’s body and were put into contact with one of the dwarven heralds to ascertain what Vein the slain mercenary belonged to. That’s when difficulties arose. Fleagle is not a dwarven name and there was no record of lineage existing for him. It was only when the coffin was open and the herald glimpsed the rotting face within that the reality of the situation became apparent. A look of shock burst upon the herald’s face and Aieglos and Anwar found themselves ushered into an out of the way chamber while a great commotion occurred outside. Several hours passed and there was still no sign of the clamor dying down. Finally, the two were sent for and a quartet of dour-faced dwarven soldiers escorted them out of the room and deep into the inner halls of the dwarven city. As they traveled, they noticed the same sad faces and black mourning bands strapped across shields. It was only when they found themselves escorted before King Tobben of the Underhalls that they learned the truth of what had occurred.
“Rondo Fleagle” was actually Randle Flowstone, the king’s second son. Years ago, an argument between the two led to Randle being declared a “mortdwerg” which effectively made him dead in the eyes of his father. Randle left the city, assumed another name, and sought to prove to his stubborn father that the surface races were worthy of the trust of the dwarves and that without dealings with them, the dwarves of the Kinan-M’Nath would continue to stagnate and die. Randle was a well-liked prince and his ostracism was a great travesty to most of the residents of the city. With his body returned and now no hope of reconciliation with his father, the entire city of Dro-baan Khaz was in mourning.
Once appraised of the situation, Anwar and Aieglos had a quick pow-wow and produced the resurrection ruby they had claimed weeks ago. Informing the king of its power, the duo summoned the great dwarven clerics and proceeded to place the gem upon Randle’s dead chest. Moments later, the magic of the gem came to life, the stone shattered, and Randle Flowstone was once again amongst the living.
Rejoicing at the return of their prince, the two found themselves honored guests of Dro-baan Khaz and feted for several days. They had earned a place of respect amongst the dwarves and were welcome to return at any time. Randle announced he would remain with his people to try and open their eyes as to what their role in the future of the Kinan-M’Nath would be and to reacquaint himself with his position and with his father. As a gesture of thanks for returning his son to a stubborn old king, the two were gifted the Ring of the Hastanes, a magical ring entrusted to the dwarves when the Hastane line vanished 500 years ago. Its powers were unknown since no wizards existed amongst the dwarves, but clerical magic had determined that it bore a powerful magical aura. Taking the ring, the two returned to Blackpool to see if their comrades had returned from their mission upriver.
Back in Blackpool, they were dismayed to learn their friends were overdue. Reports from the Warden Rangers confirmed that the hobgoblin and goblin forces had been routed and were slinking back to their caves. Kaldar had returned and told of the rest of the party entering a crumbling monastery on the western bank of the river while he kept watch on a prisoner outside. When two days had passed and the river boat, the Otter, was due back at Fort Wolf’s Head, Kaldar returned to the river and caught the ship back to Blackpool to report. Anwar and Aieglos decided that if no word was heard in the next week, a rescue mission would be arranged and they would head upriver to discover what happened to their allies.
In the meantime, their coffers would need replenishing and they turned their sights back on Stonehell. With many of their numbers training or missing, the two decided to recruit some fresh members and hire on more mercenaries. Two new candidates for membership were found in the Mad Manor: a dwarf named Helgsvar Dragonsbane and a human cleric with the unlikely name of Chuck of Amencia. With stalwarts Dirk Sodbuster and Rolf Sheepminder once again on the payroll, the group headed back to Stonehell intent on exploring the southeastern portion of the uppermost level. It was not to be.
Entering the dungeon without incident, they unrolled their map and ventured off towards the route that would take them around the pit trap that had annoyed them for so many weeks. Almost immediately they discovered that changes had occurred to the dungeon in their absence. The “voice room”—the chamber where a ghostly voice and a rush of wind calls out strange portents—had acquired a short flight of stairs that ended in a pillar of fire. The flames seemed real, cooking rations thrown into it, and leaving the party uncertain as to what this mysterious new addition meant. Deciding to leave it alone for the time being, they headed to the west, passing the fountain room and the catacombs that lead to the skull shrine.
Arriving in a room where they once battled centipedes, they discovered a door in the west wall where none had stood before. Also, the southern corridor out of the chamber had acquired a mysterious western turn. Deciding against venturing into new territory before they got their bearings, the band headed north.
The corridor headed straight as far as even infravision could see, but at least two doors and a side passage were visible along its length. Venturing down it, the party bypassed the side corridor (but noticed a door on its north wall), and pressed on towards where Helgsvar’s infravision had detected a series of niches in the wall just past a door on the eastern wall. Helgsvar forged ahead to investigate the cavities, and after finding them empty, called the rest of the party forward.
As they did so, a secret passage opened in the eastern wall and three of Stonehell’s berserk deviants poured at to attack the party. Two charged poor Dirk and Rolf while the third advanced on Chuck. Simultaneously, another seven emerged from the door in the side passage to attack the party from the rear. Chuck and his pet dog were slain moments after the ambush began, but Rolf and Dirk held their ground long enough for Aieglos’ arrows and Anwar’s sleep spell to cripple the berserkers and allow the party to carry the day.
The threat neutralized, they party entered the secret chamber to the east and found a guard room and pantry. Several fresh humanoid corpses hung from the ceiling, and one was found to be extremely fresh—still alive! They cut down the meal-to-be and met Felix Fartouch, a human archer that had been destined for the stewpot until the adventurers came along. They welcomed Felix to their ranks and scooped up a dozen copper trinkets they discovered under a pile of cleaned skulls.
Deciding that south might prove better than the north did, the party stopped to see what the room the rest of the berserkers had emerged from contained and found it to be a general quarters. A chest inside the room contained several hundred silver coins, but also a needle trap that Helgsvar barely avoided.
Back in the southern chamber, they entered the mysterious new door to discover a room filled with empty old barrels. Helgsvar entered and began pounding on barrels, stirring up a quartet of centipedes as he did so. He fled from the room, but Anwar smelled treasure and the party cautiously reentered some minutes later. They searched the room, defeated the centipedes, and Aieglos’ elven eyes discovered a loose flagstone that held three ruined leather sacks holding one hundred gold coins apiece! A mighty haul, indeed.
Feeling better about the changes to the dungeon, the party took the southern passage and found it almost immediately debouched into a bare room. Only a layer of purple powder covered the floor, and this was highly suspect. Sure enough, Helgsvar prodded the dust with a 10’ pole and it erupted into a gaseous cloud that he barely avoided. Poison was the likeliest result from breathing it. Anwar decided to try and burn the dust with torches, but his attempts to throw them around the bend in the corridor produced laughable results. The party was just about to attempt to wet the powder down when Aieglos noticed a glow coming down the hall from the fountain room.
A wandering fire beetle was out scavenging for food and with memories of the carnage the beasts had caused them in the Quiet Halls, the party wasted no time in attacking. Unfortunately, their assault did little to penetrate the carapace of the beetle and it was soon upon them. Helgsvar took a grievous wound and Rolf and Dirk exhibited great battle acumen before the beetle was finally slain.
The party decided that enough was enough and they’d go back across the damned pit again to get south. When they reached the corridor on the far side of the pit, however, they discovered that the corridor no longer ran south. Frustrated, they speculated that the catacombs and skull shrine might now contain a southern route, but headed to the Wheel of Fortune first. The door to the Wheel room was unusually stubborn, and when Helgsvar yanked hard on the door, a pit opened beneath them, dropping Felix and Helgsvar (Aieglos played an avoid taps card to escape the pit) into a 10’ shaft. Injured, but not slain, the party recovered their own and took a wine break.
With their wounds bandaged and their spirits restored, the party returned to the catacombs and stood before the massive stone double doors…and found them locked. Suddenly recalling that they had picked the lock the last time they explored this section of the dungeon, Anwar produced a magical scroll. Reading it aloud, the words ignited a blue fire that limned the portals. With a groan, they swung open and the party entered cautiously. All the crypt doors along the corridor were closed, so the band moved swiftly to the door at the far end that would lead them to the skull chapel. Passing through, they found the shrine empty and left Rolf and Dirk to watch the doors as they began searching for secret egresses.
Their hard work discovered a secret panel in the eastern wall, but it unfortunately did not lead deeper into the dungeon and instead concealed a small cavity that held old clerical robes and a large coffer. The party hemmed and hawed over the coffer until Felix lost his patience and opened the container with a flick of the wrist—and promptly died from the poison needle that protected it. The rest of the party found several thousand silver, some small pieces of jewelry, and two potions.
As they began to pack the treasure, a light appeared behind them and they turned to meet a human dressed in leather armor. Introducing himself as Gustaf Bickers, he claimed to be a “procurement specialist” that had been planning on breaking into these catacombs for weeks, only to find them open after he bought a skeleton key from a shifty character to bypass the lock. The party apologized and offered him a position with them since they now had an opening. Gustaf accepted.
Still unable to head south, the band decided to check every crypt along the entrance to see if a new door had appeared in them or if they held a secret portal they had missed. One by one, the party threw open the doors to find many of the crypts empty. One held four skeletons that the party quickly dispatched, finding a potion of flying for their troubles; another held a swarm of giant rats that almost overwhelmed the party. In the end, the rats were slain and a scroll of magic missiles was found in their nest, but not before poor Gustav was bitten and contracted the Sumatran Flu. Taking this as an omen, the party left Stonehell to return another day.
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Played by: Mark
DEX: 15 (-1 AC, +1 missile, +1 initiative)
WIS: 8 (+1 save vs. spells)
CHA: 7 (+1 reaction)
Hit Points: 4
Armor Class: 6 (7 surprised)
Special Traits/Abilities: Pick Locks 17%, F/R Traps 14%, Pick Pockets 23%, Move Silently 23%, Climb Walls 87%, Hide in Shadows 13%, Hear Noise 2/6, Backstab (+4, x2 damage)
Languages: Common, Thieves Cant
Weapons: Short bow, short sword, dagger
Armor: Studded leather armor
Magic Items: potion of healing
Objects of questionable value: Thieves tools
Experience: 961 (+5%)
Last Update: 08/21/11
Played by: Kurt
STR: 17 (+2 to hit, damage, open doors)
INT: 14 (+1 languages)
WIS: 15 (+1 to save vs. magic)
CHA: 5 (+1 reaction)
Hit Points: 5
Armor Class: 4/3
Special Traits/Abilities: Infravision 60', detect traps, false walls, hidden construction, and sloped passages 2/6. Natural linguist
Languages: Common, Dwarven, Gobbelty, Gnome, Kobold, Hobgoblin, Ogre
Weapons: Longsword, throwing axe
Armor: Splint mail & shield
Magic Items: potion of healing(x2)
Objects of questionable value: None
Experience: 1,008 (+10%)
Last Update: 08/21/11
Sunday, May 8, 2011
On the late morning of the 25th of The Bloom, a few short days after the stalwart members of the Society of Plane-Walkers departed Blackpool to confront and defeat the hobgoblin menace, a party of would-be adventurers arrived at the end of the Last Hard Road and entered the frontier town. This cadre of fortune hunters had journeyed to the Kinan-M’Nath from the quiet horse town of Shy Kimoor, some few days’ travel to the east. Drawn by the legends of Stonehell, the party was a most unusual mix of men and not-men.
Amongst the unnamed group’s ranks were Clausius Clapeyron, a dwarf and former brewer’s assistant renowned for his constant state of intoxication; Lordarain Brigmore, a cleric of Father Moon and former merchant; Sir Octo Puss III, a disowned octopus noble fallen on hard times; Ronald Crump, entrepreneur and magic-user; Tarfuhl, a Hurg and former military officer; and Trevor, outlaw magic-user. Having heard of the fantastic wealth that lay inside the former prison for the taking, the six had come in search of their own share of treasure. But first, they decided that stout men-at-arms were needed to help ensure their survival in the dungeon’s depths.
Directions from the local constabulary led them to the Dead Dragon Inn, the sole traveler’s rest house in town. Inside the common room, the group encountered a quartet of idle caravan guards and a much-maimed and cantankerous former dungeon delver. The latter was an abusive, if not completely unhelpful advisor and the former became hired hands in the party’s first foray into the dungeon. With little time to waste and plans to come back rich by sundown, the group, now assisted by Ivan, Merk, Chogah, and Lou (the men-at-arms), set off for the famous death trap.
The group arrived without incident, pausing to decipher some of the faded graffiti scrawled on the crumbling gatehouse wall. One phrase spoke of gold nuggets the size of apples beyond the Living Caves, and it was upon this obscure clue that the band set their sights. The party, throwing caution to the wind, strode brazenly through the gatehouse’s underpass, but Ronald Crump halted the back two ranks of the company in mid-stride to see if fatalities befell the rest of the group as they passed the murder holes and arrow slits. This action was noticed and unappreciated by those put in harm’s way. Apologies were made and the group continued into the box canyon.
Ignoring the ruins and caves of the canyon, the party followed the largest grouping of tracks directly to the dungeon’s entrance. Lighting torches and assembling with men-at-arms at front and rear, they descended down the long, winding stairs to arrive in the dungeon’s “H Room.” The eastern door proved stubborn to open, so the band made their way through the ogre arch and down the northern passage (after taking the map away from the perpetually drunk and Wisdom of 3 dwarf fighter).
A stout door stood past the archway and the band gathered about it in preparation for their first big score. Pulling the door open, they discovered a sunken floor and an atmosphere stinking of sulfur. In the center of the depression stood an intricately wrought brazier from which a score of 4” long frogs were leaping forth to cavort about the floor. This odd enough phenomenon was made odder still by the fact that each frog (and the brazier itself) burned with purple flames!
Clausius and Sir Octo entered the room. Clausius, without a beat, whirled his flail down on the closet frog, causing it to explode in a blast of fire, killing the animal and setting his own clothes afire. Sir Octo watched as four of the closest frogs turned their attentions on the burning dwarf and launched themselves at the drunken warrior. In seconds, Clausius was dead and burning brightly on the dungeon floor. The campaign had a new record for shortest-lived PC, a title former held by Pip Haggleham. Attempts were made to draw the frogs away from the burning dwarf (so that his gear might be scavenged) with a torch, but the fiery frogs had no interest in normal orange-red flames. The party closed the door and continued north.
Passing a wide corridor with bridge-like overpasses and avoiding a door that sounded of rats, the party reached a T-intersection and proceeded left. They swiftly came across a square chamber adorned with carvings of human faces, their mouths open wide. Attempts to cross the room revealed that the floor was pressure sensitive, firing darts at those who mis-stepped on its cracked surface. After half the party had made it across (and killed a spitting cobra attracted by their hot torches), the rest of the band learned that they could cross unscathed by climbing the carved faces and the room was safely bypassed.
Only a short distance beyond was another square room—this one adorned with large eyes carved in the walls. Sir Octo, using his natural climbing skills, hauled his body up one wall and across the ceiling to scout ahead. The rest of the group crossed with caution and were either extremely lucky or the room was untrapped—there were no injuries this time.
Beyond the eye room, the corridor turned south and was marked by eight small niches, each large enough to hold a decorative bust. The sixth niche seemed to hold one such carving: the head of a human male with oddly-upswept hair and wearing a cape some two-hundred years out of fashion. The party attempted to collect this piece and discovered that it was a hologram. No other signs of secret doors, hidden mirrors, or out of place details could be found. A mystery, indeed. Perhaps it points to other secrets waiting to be found.
The party continued on, forgetting to probe their way with 10’ pole. This meant that both Ivan and Sir Octo blundered into the trap waiting for them. With an explosion of white, glaring light, the duo found themselves adorned with thousands of pieces of glowing glitter, each of which provided ample illumination to nullify any chance of them sneaking about in the dark dungeon. To complicate matters, as the two walked, unearthly music arose from no visible source to accompany their movements:
The two had become walking dinner bells.
Attempts to wash the glitter off with water proved futile, but the band discovered a small storage room not far from the site of the trap. This chamber held the accumulated detritus of a hundred failed adventuring bands, most of which had deteriorated in the dank dungeon environment. The party decided to hole up, search the room, and see if the dinner bell trap would wear off.
The party passed the time digging through the ruined equipment, finding several useful items—bolts and arrows, torches, a ladder, iron spikes, a shovel, a crowbar, and vials of oil. Amongst this mundane gear were two small glass vials holding red and green liquids. The party paused to experiment and learned two things: 1) the glowing glitter was oil-solvable and the two afflicted members were cleansed of their musical decorations, and 2) the red and green liquids were both deadly poisons. Alas, this lesson was learned when Ronald Crump and Sir Octo Pus III sampled from the bottles. Both died in agony.
With half the party dead (and the referee’s sore back causing him much pain), the party exited the dungeon—weighted down with the wealth of their slain comrades—to try their luck another day.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
Played by: Pete
STR: 16 (+2 to attack, damage, and open doors)
CON: 16 (+2 hp)
Hit Points: 10
Armor Class: 6
Special Traits/Abilities: None
Languages: Common, Hirgish, Elven
Weapons: Two-handed sword, light crossbow
Magic Items: None
Objects of questionable value: Instant Hurg tent kit
Experience: 617 (+10%)
Last Update: 5/08/11
Played by: Jack
DEX: 7 (-1 to missiles/intiative, +1 to AC)
WIS: 6 (-2 save vs. spells)
CHA: 15 (-1 reaction)
Hit Points: 6
Armor Class: 6
Special Traits/Abilities: None
Weapons: Long sword, shortbow
Armor: Scale mail & shield
Magic Items: None
Objects of questionable value:
Last Update: 5/5/11
Played by: Jud
STR: 7 (-1 to attack, damage, and open doors)
DEX: 8 (+1 to A.C./inititative, -1 to missile)
INT: 16 (+2 languages)
WIS: 8 (-1 save vs. spells)
Hit Points: 11
Armor Class: 5
Special Traits/Abilities: None
Languages: Common, Anatic, Elven
Weapons: Daggers x2, silver dagger
Armor: Fine silk robe
Magic Items: None
Spellbook: Charm person, magic missile, read magic, sleep, continual light, locate object
Objects of questionable value:
Experience: 117 (+10%)
Last Update: 5/9/11